**Courtesy of the Denver Broncos P.R. Staff
HEAD COACH JOSH McDANIELS
"We are excited to get back at work, getting ready to play a great football team, the defending Super Bowl champion, on Monday Night Football. It will be a great challenge ahead of us this week to prepare and get ready to play a game against a team that has very, very few, if any, weaknesses. We are going to have to play our best football in order to have an opportunity to beat them on Monday night."
On if Baltimore presented physical mismatches for the Broncos
"We didn't play the way that we are capable of playing, and that is not an excuse. Baltimore forced us to play the way we played. They deserve credit. We talked about it the other day. We have got to do much better, but it is not about matchups. We have enough players out there that can match up physically with anybody in this league. We didn't play as well as we can."
On Pittsburgh's physical style of play
"(Pittsburgh) is a very physical team in every phase. To me, that is where it starts with the Steelers. If you are going to get out-physicaled offensively, defensively (and) in the kicking game, you are going to have a hard time winning. They are definitely going to challenge you in every area. Every one of their players plays like that. I don't care if it is the kickoff returner, the kicker, the tight ends, the lines, whomever it is, (Pittsburgh QB Ben) Roethlisberger, they are all physical players that play tough and are going to present that challenge to us individually and as a team collectively."
On the Broncos' need to start games faster
"We are going to try to adjust it every day that we are here. It has been a multitude of different reasons, whether it be execution of a simple thing or a decision we made, a bad call on our part. A mistake here or there changes the beginning of the game just like it will the end of a game. We have got to play really good football in the first quarter from the first play on if we want to start fast. That starts in practice (by) building that mentality that our first individual period is going to be a good period and our first team period is going to be a good period, and we are not going to make a bunch of mistakes and wait until halfway through practice to get going. We have got to continue to try to build that mentality through our work on the field here. Hopefully, that mentality and that state of mind will carry over into good execution to begin the games each week."
On playing the Steelers on Monday Night Football following the Broncos' first loss
"It is an opportunity for us is what it is. We haven't lost before and now we have. We learned a lot of things about ourselves through this process the last couple days. There are plenty of things that we need to fix and improve on quickly in order to play and compete against a great football team on a great stage. We are excited to be here today to start that process with our players, and we hopefully have a great week of preparation and go out there and play our best game on Monday night."
On Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisbeger's winning mentality
"I think sometimes you can kind of get an idea of how much winning drives a certain person. I think their history and their past and the teams that they have been involved in, if they win 90 percent of the time (or) 80 percent of the time and they have been a big reason why those teams are successful, then I think you can go ahead and associate them with being a winner. That is what they have done. Their past will tell you much about them. He has always been that way since he was a rookie. He was a rookie and he won a bunch of games. (He has) now (won) two Super Bowls. This guy is different than other quarterbacks but better than most in that he wins more games than everybody else does and wins the big ones. When his team needs him to play well, he really does. He is going to be a great challenge for us this week. (He is) certainly one of the premiere players in the league."
On if Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin's success at a young age showed him he could be successful
"He is a great role model for all coaches in this league, young coaches (and) older coaches alike. He is very, very intelligent (and) has a great background history. He learned from a bunch of really great men in this league and does a great job of teaching (and) motivating his players (and) his team. His team is always well prepared. His team is always going to play with great emotion and energy. You never see them with a lack of effort, and I think that is a testament to what he does on a weekly basis or a daily basis with his football team. He is a positive influence on a lot of people. That didn't really affect whether or not I thought I could do this or not, but (he is) certainly a guy that most of us would emulate, winning a Super Bowl in his second year and being as successful as he has been so far in his coaching career."
On S Renaldo Hill's performance this year
"Renaldo is a very consistent player. He practices the same way. He always does his job, for the most part, very well. He protects the deep part of the field (and) is very dependable for us. He has been a decent tackler over his career, and that is exactly what we have seen here. A safety's job in our defense is to prevent touchdowns, and he has done a good job of doing that, for the most part, in every situation that he could be involved in. I don't know that there is a player on our team that is more prepared on a weekly basis. When you listen to our practices, he is calling out most of the things before they actually happen. There are not many players in the league that can take in all the information, all the preparation that you try to give the players and then go out there and apply it without slowing them down. He is one of those players that can do that and helps other players out while he is out there trying to do his job, too. (He is) everything we thought we were getting and then some. (He is) a guy that, I think, a lot of people look up to on our team."
On Pittsburgh's offense having a different style than in previous years
"I would disagree. The numbers may tell you that they are a different type of team, but this is as physical of an offensive line (and) physical running back as we are going to play. They can do either (running or passing plays). It just so happens they have gotten into a few games where they went ahead and made the decision to pass the ball more often than run it or the score indicated that they go ahead and do that. This is a team that can do whatever they want to on offense, and you have got to stop everything. You have got to stop the running game. You have got to stop (Pittsburgh RB Rashard) Mendenhall. They have got (Pittsburgh RB) Willie Parker. Then (Pittsburgh TE) Heath Miller is fourth in the league or third in the league in catches. They have got a bunch of big-play receivers. That is really how Pittsburgh has played all along. I just think right now the thing that is sticking out to everybody is the statistical numbers in the passing game (that) make everybody feel like this has become a one-dimensional passing team, and that is very far from the truth. I think if you don't stop the running game, you are going to have a big problem. You can try to stop one aspect and make them play the other way, but they have shown the ability to do either one effectively. You have got to play good sound defense and not give up big plays. They have got so many players on offense that make those kind of plays, explosive plays (and) score touchdowns from a long distance that if you fall asleep on one play, you could be in trouble. This is a team that tests you on every down in every way you can imagine. There is a reason why they were Super Bowl champions last year, and there is a reason why they are one of the best teams in the league on a regular basis. I didn't mean to disagree with you that way. I am just saying that it is not really the case. They can do a lot of things that they have done in the past very well, and they can throw it, run it, short, deep, scramble, gadgets, reverses-you have got to be ready for everything against this team or you are going to get taken advantage of."
QB KYLE ORTON
On lessons from the Baltimore game that apply to Pittsburgh
"If you play a good team and don't execute very well, then you are going to have trouble. (That is a) huge priority in practice this week, making sure we have three or four great practices and to be on top of things and be ready to go by Monday."
On why the offense has started games slow
"(There is) kind of just a lack of execution to start the game. It is going to be a critical point in this game. These guys are probably the best starters in all of football for the last few years. We certainly can't expect to win if we are down 10-0 or 14-0 to start off the game. We are going to have to figure it out and get it going by Monday."
On if a set number of offensive plays were scripted to open a game when he played in Chicago
"We had a script (in Chicago), but the guys (in Denver) should have a pretty good feel for what is going to be called early in the game. We go over it. Some of these extra days that we have had, we have gone over our first calls or first third-down calls and all that, so that is not an excuse. We certainly know the plays that we are calling early in the game and certainly should be able to execute them."
On why there are so many NFL quarterbacks with unique skill sets
"I don't know. To play the other positions, you have got to be physically as gifted as everyone else, obviously. I think just the quarterback position there are different styles of play. Some guys are pocket passers, some guys are runners, some guys play with their head (and), some guys rely on physical abilities. (There is) a mix bag that you can get at this position, and guys play accordingly."
On what disappointed him about the Baltimore game
"Everything. I don't think anybody on offense could be satisfied with their play. We didn't pass the ball. We didn't run the ball. We didn't block them. We didn't do anything. We have our work cut out for us this week."
On facing Pittsburgh after the Broncos' first loss of the season
"Every week in this league is a test, but when you are playing a team like Pittsburgh who has had the success that they've had-speaking for the offense, this has been a great defense probably for the last 30 years so nothing has changed. We are going to have to play physical, we are going to have to play smart and we are going to have to play our best game."
On playing on Monday Night Football
"Guys like to play on primetime, and you can say it or not, but there is extra emotion on Monday night games and we will be excited and we will be ready to go."
On playing physical teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh in consecutive games
"(Baltimore) beat us up pretty good, no question about it. We feel like we have a physical football team, and certainly, Pittsburgh prides themselves on that, too. It will be a hard-hitting game, and whoever can win that battle will have a good chance to win."
On what the most important factors for the game are
"It is about everything. It is about matchups. It is about attitude. It is about practice. You can't just kind of (take) practice off for three or four days and expect to go out and play a physical game."
On T Tyler Polumbus
"We expect anybody that is going to be out on the field to come out and perform, and I am sure Tyler will have a great week of practice and be ready to go."
On the similarities between Pittsburgh's and Baltimore's defense
"(Baltimore was) fast. Pittsburgh is fast. When you are not executing and not playing like you would want to, you make the defense obviously look that much better. These guys don't need any help. They are a very good defense and they will be ready to go for us."
S BRIAN DAWKINS
On Pittsburgh WR Hines Ward
"(He is) just a guy that you know is going to bring a certain intensity to every game. It takes a special guy playing the receiver position to do what he does as far as mixing it up with safeties, cornerbacks and even linebackers, sometimes. Not being afraid to do it, it takes a special guy with a lot of want-to in him, and he definitely has that."
On if Ward is crafty
"He knows how to work his leverage. He knows how to work, putting his body in position to body a guy out and make tight, tight catches. He is just a gamer. Game in and game out, year in and year out, from the day he stepped onto the field, he has been somebody that opened eyes early and continues to open eyes now."
On Pittsburgh's physical style of play
"This is a team that is built on tough, physical guys. From before I was born, they have been playing a certain way, and that hasn't changed to this day. Last week was last week. We did some things in the second half that were not like us defensively. (We were) getting out of our gaps-I think we were trying to do too much towards the end-and we gave up some scores that we usually don't give up. We learned from those mistakes, and we are going to move forward this week to make sure that those mistakes don't creep up if the game is a close one toward the end."
On if the Broncos can match up physically with anybody
"It is about us doing what we do. We are not trying to match somebody. We are trying to be who we are. When you are trying to match somebody, to me, that is saying that they are a team that is above you, or you are trying to build up to them. We are who we are, and if we go out and do what we are supposed to do, we feel like we have a chance to win every game."
On Pittsburgh WR Santonio Holmes
"Obviously, we always point toward Hines and what he does, (Pittsburgh QB) Ben (Roethlisberger) and what he does for this team, being able to keep plays alive, and (that they are) a physical team, but (Holmes) has been doing some work out there. I don't know if it is going unnoticed by a lot of people, but not to me, even when I played him last year when I was with the Eagles. I knew where he was because usually, I was to his side. I know the playmaking potential that he has when he gets the ball in his hands to break tackles and then that game-breaking receiver deep threat that he can be. I don't look past this guy, not even a little bit, because I know how much he brings to the table."
"I think he just became more and more comfortable in what he was already able to do. Once you do some things and you see a lot of success from doing it, you are obviously going to continue to do it. Some of the things that he is doing now, I don't know if he would have tried to do in the beginning, but he sees that the things are working now, pumping the ball and being able to keep the play alive. A lot of times they are giving up sacks, but a lot of that is because he believes so much in his ability to break tackles and keep the play alive that he will hold the ball a little longer. I think that is just all about him and his comfort level and his confidence in his ability."
On if Roethlisberger is one of the elite quarterbacks in the league
"Absolutely, (he has) too many drives, especially being able to keep the plays alive and making big plays when he needed to. You saw it last year. You saw it in the Super Bowl, so you know this guy can get the job done. It is going to be a whistle-to-whistle game. We try to play whistle-to-whistle anyway, but when you have a quarterback with the potential to break tackles and keep the play alive, then for the secondary, it is definitely a whistle-to-whistle game for us."
On OLB/DE Elvis Dumervil
"First of all, it is want-to, believing in himself and what his God-given abilities are, and then just going out and listening to what (Defensive Coordinator) Mike (Nolan) is telling him to do and believing that it is going to be where Mike says it is going to be. From there, the guy has some talent, regardless. Outside of moving him to wherever you want to move him, there are certain things that Elvis can do, and we know one of those things is rush the passer with the best of them."
On Dumervil's improvement since last season
"I have only been behind him this year, so all I have seen is Elvis working and doing what he does. I wasn't here last year to see how he played last year to this year."
On if Dumervil has improved from the first time he saw him
"If he was uncomfortable, let's just say it was hard for me to tell."
On similarities between Dumervil and Pittsburgh ROLB James Harrison
"Obviously, they are guys that are lower to the ground already-some people call them short (but) I will just say they are lower to the ground-and that gives them an advantage. It really does because there are not too many 6-7 guys that are going to be able to get down, get lower than them to get the leverage back. They are going to play the game most of the time with the leverage already in their favor. Then both of those guys have motors. I am talking about (they) won't stop until the whistle is blown or until they get close enough to the quarterback to do what they have to do, and that is to bring him down. Both of those guys are built of the same kind of mold, as far as the motors, the low build and once again, I will bring up that word ‘want-to'. Both of them want to have success and actually believe in themselves that they will be able to do it."
On Pittsburgh SS Troy Polamalu
"Troy is all over the place. I love it. He is just one of those guys that I would put on film and I just love to watch him play. I am not ashamed or afraid to say that I put on some tapes and watch those guys to see what he does and see if I can steal some things. That is how great of a safety he is. Moving around, not afraid to show different disguises and being able to get to his deep third or deep half, all of those things confuse the offense. We all know that, but the thing that sets those guys apart is their play-making potential when the ball is in the air to close on it and to get it. He and (Baltimore S) Ed (Reed) are blessed with the ability to be able to do that. I think (New Orleans S) Darren Sharper is another guy, same type of thing. When the ball is in the air, for a lot of us it is PBUs (pass breakups). For those guys, it is interceptions. The opportunity for him to make plays is always there, so you always have to know where he is. He is definitely a guy that I love to watch."
On potentially going to the Pro Bowl at safety in the AFC
"If that happens, it happens. My desire first is to help this team. If helping this team gets me over there, then I will welcome it, but I already knew what we have over here. It is not just those guys. We have some pretty good safeties. There is a safety over there with the Patriots (S Brandon Meriweather) that is doing some good things. There are some good safeties over here, and I think that is a great thing."